Machamp, The Superpower Pokémon. Its four ruggedly developed arms can launch a flurry of 1,000 punches in just two seconds. It uses its four powerful arms to pin the limbs of its foe, then throws the victim over the horizon. Machamp has the power to hurl anything aside. However, trying to do any work requiring care and dexterity causes its arms to get tangled. This Pokémon tends to leap into action before it thinks. Machamp is known as the Pokémon that has mastered every kind of martial arts. If it grabs hold of the foe with its four arms, the battle is all but over. The hapless foe is thrown far over the horizon.
Ah Machamp. As one of those classic Gen 1 Pokemon who is widely known, Machamp enjoys a decent amount of popularity due to being fairly iconic. Not only is it effectively the quintessential fighting type of Gen 1, but it also got a recent boon by being playable in Pokken Tournament! That said, being iconic doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s always been the best fighting type Pokemon. Machamp’s been on of those Pokemon who’s always had a few things holding it back from being the number 1 fighting type in town, such as its lackluster speed and oh so much competition from other fighting types. It did get an interesting and unique gift in Gen 4 in the form of No Guard, which allowed it to abuse perfectly accurate Dynamic Punches… But that tended to make it into something of a one-trick pony. Its job certainly hasn’t gotten any easier over the years, with the new Fairy types to spite it, a general power creep thanks to Mega Evolutions making its once high attack seem lower than it once was, and even more fighting types than ever for it to compete with. Still though, even if Machamp is sort of a one-trick pony who gained more and more competition as time passes… that one trick is still a very good trick, because almost nothing like eating perfectly accurate Dynamic Punches. It may not be the best fighting type by any stretch, but it’s still a threatening Pokemon that can put the hurt on you if you don’t take it seriously.
Guts: Attack is increased by 50% when induced with a status (BURN, PARALYZE, SLEEP, POISON, FREEZE). Burn’s effect of lowering Attack is not applied. - Guts is actually a pretty solid ability. Most notably, it prevents a Burn from being able to completely screw over Machamp, and the attack boost is pretty dangerous as well. That said, Conkeldurr or Heracross tend to be more popular picks for a Guts user, and Machamp loves to abuse No Guard since the ability is so great but so rare. Don’t be fooled though; Guts can have surprise value to screw over those thinking Will-o-Wisp or Scald will solve their Machamp problems.
No Guard: The accuracy of all moves known by this Pokémon and all Pokémon targeting this Pokémon raises to 100%. - No Guard is really, really good. The ability to make any attack perfectly accurate turns Dynamic Punch, which is almost entirely unusable due to its 50% accuracy, into a frighteningly powerful STAB with guaranteed confusion. In addition, Machamp doesn’t have to worry about untimely Stone Edge misses, either. However, the downside is that you’ll have to worry about opponents’ attack always hitting as well, and with Machamp’s low speed that means you’ll almost always take an attack before you can attack yourself. Watch out for things like Hurricane and Thunder.
Machamp in Making
Despite Choice Bands being in style for generations, Machamp now sets a new fashion statement with an Assault Vest set (and one that’s probably specially made to accommodate its four arms). Fashion aside however, Machamp’s movepool has remained relatively the same over the years. Dynamic Punch is its main STAB attack, which thanks to No Guard, becomes perfectly accurate. As a result, Dynamic Punch is a base 100 power STAB attack which is guaranteed to confuse the target. This makes switching into Machamp a daunting prospect, as even resists can be screwed over by the confusion. Of course, this is not the case with Ghost types, who are immune to Dynamic Punch (given that No Guard only affects accuracy and not type immunities). For this reason, Knock Off is standard in Machamp’s movepool, especially given the power buff of Gen 6 which has made it a fantastic attack in general. It obliterates the Ghost types who are immune to Dynamic Punch, in addition to nailing Psychic types hard as well, and almost anything that switches in, with a few exceptions such as Mega Evolutions, really hate being stripped of their item. Between Dynamic Punch and Knock Off, Machamp can be very difficult to switch into. The rest of its movepool is for niche coverage. Stone Edge is typically the most reliable option, nailing the myriad of Bug and Flying types who resist your STAB, and thanks to Stone Edge’s shaky accuracy, No Guard can give it a noticeable boost in reliability. However, Ice Punch has some niche value, dealing better with things like Nidoqueen and Gligar, but generally Stone Edge’s power is preferable. For the final slot, Bullet Punch gives Machamp some much needed priority to pick off weakened opponents. It would’ve killed for Mach Punch, but it’ll make due with what it’s got for Bullet Punch. The little extra chip damage doesn’t hurt on things like Fairy types, but it should be noted that a neutral Stone Edge hits harder than a 2x super effective Bullet Punch, so don’t go thinking Bullet Punch will remedy Machamp’s fairy type problems.
Machamp’s EVs and nature assure it reaches max attack, which should be obvious as with a four-attacking set it wants to be able to hit as hard as possible. 84 speed EVs can allow Machamp to outspeed anything at an uninvested base 65 or less speed, which notably includes Vaporeon, Umbreon, Chesnaught, Porygon2, and Empoleon. The rest of its EVs are dumped into HP to maximize its bulk. If you’re not concerned about outspeeding the aforementioned Pokemon though, you can invest more in bulk, but being able to outspeed these Pokemon can often guarantee that Machamp will almost always come out on top against them (except maybe Chesnaught). If you do opt for a bulkier spread though, 248 HP / 252 Atk / 8 SpDef is the way to go. Assault Vest is utilized to afford Machamp the ability to switch into attacks it otherwise wouldn’t be able to, such as being able to avoid being 2HKO’ed by things such as Choice Specs Noivern’s Draco Meteor, Life Orb Roserade’s Sludge Bomb, and Life Orb Hydreigon’s Draco Meteor, which has helped it considerably given its low speed means it’ll often have to take two attacks before it can retaliate.
-Guts can be considered in place of No Guard as a surprise option, given most people may try to burn Machamp to hinder its potency. If Guts is used, however, you’ll also want to replace Dynamic Punch with Close Combat, as without No Guard Dynamic Punch is useless. It is worth remembering, however, that Machamp faces a lot of competition as a Guts user, and very little competition as a No Guard user, so No Guard is usually the preferable option.
Double & Triple Battle Options
Machamp almost became irrelevant when Conkeldurr was introduced in Gen 5, ALMOST. What saved Machamp from obscurity? A diabolical combination of abilities and moves shared by itself and Golurk... I'm talking about No Guard with Dynamic Punch! Imagine if Confuse Ray had a base power of 150, that kind of absurdity is what keeps players on their toes when Machamp hits the field.
Preparing for Pokkén
Machamp is let down by its speed, base 55 isn't getting anywhere fast. Because Machamp mixes disruption with brute force in one attack, it's going to be targeted very quickly by just about anything faster than base 55 (Speed ties with Ledyba and is outsped by Wartortle) Though Dynamic Punch won't hit Ghosts it will hit everything else and confuse them, similar to how Scald is sometimes used to try and Burn a switch in, Dynamic Punch can make switches risky business. Encore has caught many players by surprise, suddenly being locked into an unfavorable move, so don't leave yourself susceptible. Encore also introduces the idea that Machamp does mix Brute Force, Disruption AND Support in one Pokemon, rather beautifully when considering it has access to Wide and Quick Guard, sparing it and its partner from Hyper Voices and Brave Birds. When Dynamic Punch isn't enough coverage, Machamp has access to the Elemental Punches and Knock Off, the former's Ice Punch for Landorus-Therian and the latter for Ghosts. Most of the work that Machamp will be able to put in will depend heavily on its partner Pokemon.
Partner's for Machamp will want to put off more pressure than Machamp, as to redirect attacks from Machamp to its partner, a Mega Pokemon exerts this sort of pressure nicely. Mega Kangaskhan and Mega Charizards are the epitome of offensive pressure. Though Smeargle's has Dark Void pressure isn't a joke either. Not to mention the absolutely disgusting combo Smeargle can pull off with Machamp (or any No Guard user). Have Smeargle Role Play to copy Machamp's No Guard, then follow up the subsequent turns with 100% Accurate Sheer Colds and Dark Voids. As if Smeargle wasn't nerve wracking enough!
Machamp's shortcomings are mainly its speed and it's competition in its fellow fighting types like Terrakion and Lucario, who need not worry about their Speed as much and can offer more than just Dyanamic Punch. Confusion isn't the be all end all of Status either, Pokemon can still land their attacks through confusion and switching out nullifies it entirely. If the opponent has an intimidator on their team, they most likely will use the switching opportunities to capitalize on Intimidate, slowly reducing Machamp's offensive presence.
All things considered, Machamp can be decent. It's one of a handful who can use Wide Quard and Quick Guard which will free up a lot of turns for Machamp's partner. Dynamic Punch means it isn't just a dead weight support option either, a lot of times a Pokemon can't be both offensive pressure and support. Because of that, Machamp shouldn't be overlooked without SOME consideration.
Finding a hard counter to Machamp can, in some ways, be very difficult, because even things that resist its attacks can find themselves at the mercy of Dynamic Punch’s confusion turning things into a game of luck. Not accounting for luck, however, there are a few Pokemon who can manage to come out on top against Machamp where it’s most commonly used. Defensive Chesnaught is only 4HKO’ed at best by Dynamic Punch, while its combination of Leech Seed, Spiky Shield, and Drain Punch can wear Machamp down while keeping itself healthy. Physically defensive Hippowdon is only 4HKO’ed, and can heal itself with Slack Off while Sandstorm and Earthquake wear Machamp down. Defensive Florges can deal with any Machamp lacking Heavy Slam, as Stone Edge only 3HKO’s Florges at best (and less than half the time), while Moonblast can reliably 2HKO Machamp even without investment. Plus, thanks to Wish and Protect, it can heal back damage that Machamp may deal to it. Heracross can be a more offensive answer, as not only does it outspeed Machamp and reliably 1HKO it with Choice Band Close Combat, but it is only 2HKO’ed by Stone Edge and 3HKO’ed by Dynamic Punch… just watch out for Knock Off getting rid of your item. If Machamp is confirmed to be using No Guard, then burning it is a sound way to deal with it. Things such as Spiritomb or Weezing generally fear nothing Machamp has to offer, as defensive Spiritomb is only 4HKO’ed while Weezing is 5HKO’ed, and both do away with Machamp’s threat with a burn. Just be sure to make sure it’s not a Guts variant (if you see Dynamic Punch, that’s a pretty safe bet). Defensive Cofagrigus is also a unique answer, because not only can it cripple No Guard Machamp with a burn, but if Machamp tries to use Knock Off against it, it’ll find itself stuck with Mummy, which often forces it out since even if Cofagrigus switches out, Dynamic Punch will be almost unusable. Cresselia can be an answer to Machamp, as although it hates Knock Off, it has enough bulk to only be 4HKO’ed since Knock Off’s damage is greatly diminished once the item is gone, and its Psyshock can hit Machamp’s weaker defense stat to manage to squeeze in a 2HKO. Although the generally good coverage and Dynamic Punch’s confusion can make switching into Machamp rather tricky, when it comes to checking Machamp, it’s not all that difficult due to its low speed. Things such as Mega Aerodactyl’s Aerial Ace, Offensive Crobat’s Brave Bird, Entei’s Choice Band Flare Blitz, Alakazam’s Psyshock, and Honchkrow’s Brave Bird can 1HKO Machamp regardless, and they all outspeed Machamp and can survive a Bullet Punch with plenty to spare. Many other things such as Espeon, Mega Pidgeot and Noivern can 2HKO Machamp with a super effective STAB, but miss out on the 1HKO thanks to Assault Vest. Fortunately, since Machamp has no recovery, it can be worn down, and on the physical side, most strong neutral STABS can 2HKO it.
Remember when I said Machamp wasn’t the best fighting type around? Well, there’s a reason for that, because in the most inclusive formats, Machamp meets new nemeses that ruin its life. Mega Slowbro stands tall among them, as even Knock Off can only 5HKO it, while Mega Slowbro can heal back any damage with Slack Off, and wear it down with Scald or Psychic/Psyshock. Standard Slowbro is largely in the same boat, but it does have to watch out since its item can be knocked off if it’s not opting for its Mega Evolution. Still though, with the item knocked off, Machamp’s Knock Offs can only 4HKO, and Regenerator can keep Slowbro healthy. Mega Sableye can be another insurmountable obstacle for Machamp, as it is only 4HKO’ed by Stone Edge, can burn Machamp with Will-o-Wisp, and can stall it out thanks to Recover. Thanks to Intimidate, Landorus-T fears nothing from Machamp but the uncommon Ice Punch. Defensive Landorus-T is merely 8HKO’ed by standard Machamp, while offensive variants are still only 4HKO’ed at best. Meanwhile, pretty much any Landorus-T can 2HKO with Earthquake. Defensive Sylveon is 5HKO’ed at best by standard Machamp while it 2HKOs with Pixilate Hyper Voice, but the rare Heavy Slam can risk a 2HKO so be careful of that. And of course, there is an astonishing number of things that can check Machamp. Latios, Hawlucha, Mega Pinsir, Staraptor, Talonflame, Mega Altaria, Mega Gardevoir, Mega Gallade, Mega Medicham, Mega Metagross… there’s a lot of things that can soundly obliterate Machamp with their strong STAB attacks. Once again, due to the lack of reliable recovery, Machamp has difficulty sustaining itself, and can be prone to being worn down. Strong physical STAB attacks are usually a solid way to go, as Assault Vest can diminish the power of some special attacks. Still though, many special attackers, such as Choice Specs Keldeo and Mega Charizard Y, can still 2HKO Machamp with ease or pick off a weakened Machamp, so it has to be wary of what kind of special attackers it tries to wall. In all honesty, it faces a lot of competition from Conkeldurr, who has Drain Punch to keep itself healthy, in addition to better physical bulk and attack. As a result, many teams that are prepared for Conkeldurr are also prepared for Machamp, barring some dumb luck from Dynamic Punch’s confusion of course.
In a setting where powerful fighting types such as Mienfoo, Timburr, Pancham, and Croagunk, poor Machop has trouble standing out. It lacks the speed and power of Mienfoo, the bulk of Timburr or Pancham, and the ability to go mixed like Croagunk. With this in mind, why use Machop at all? Well, much like its evolution, the answer is very simple: No Guard. Despite being largely outclassed in the Little Cup, Machop’s access to perfectly accurate Dynamic Punches gives it a small niche. Not many things like Dynamic Punch’s guaranteed confusion, and the power it wields it pretty solid as well. And of course, no Little Cup moveset would be complete without Knock Off, since almost nothing in the Little Cup likes losing its item, and it hits things like Gastly and Honedge hard as well if they think they can switch into it. Its remaining two moves are all about coverage; Rock Slide deals with Archen and Fletchling, Poison Jab can deal decent damage to Spritzee and Snubbul, and Ice Punch is its only means of dealing with Foongus. Which you choose depends on which is more threatening to your team.
The EVs and nature allow Machop to reach 14 speed, which, with a Choice Scarf, puts it up to 21 speed, which is enough to outspeed most of the unboosted metagame. However, it’s important to remember that Mienfoo tends to do this better, as it packs a higher speed tier and more power. That said, Machop can still throw a number of things off balance with a fast Dynamic Punch, which allows it to put pressure on your opponent’s team and force switches. The given attack EVs maximize its attack at a solid 17, while the special defense EVs bring its special defense stat up to 11, giving it a balanced 23/11/11 defensive spread. Again though, before using Machop, be aware of the other options.
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